Isolation for Writers – Guest post: Lynn Fraser #COV1D19 #Isolation #Writers #Anxiety #Concentration #Introspection

Welcome to Lynn Fraser, my next guest on my new feature – Isolation for Writers.

How do writers, creatives, artists and bookish souls cope with isolation? Is their capacity to cope different from the rest of the population? It’s an interesting question and one that fascinates me.

How is Lynn Fraser coping with this enforced isolation?

Huddled in a circle of light I’m Lynn, writer, reader, mum, drinker of tea.

In many ways, my life in lockdown is not so different in its physical aspects to normal life. I work at home, health issues mean I don’t go out often, and me and mine are not the most sociable types. The main difference is in my head. I am more anxious and introspective.

I feel I’ve become like the ancients, huddled with my little family around the fire in a small circle of light. Awareness of the beasts, that paw and roar in the surrounding darkness, is causing heightened anxiety. When Himself goes to do the weekly supermarket shop, I fret while he’s away as though he’s gone off with his spear into the red of tooth and claw wilderness. Life seems fragile. Chaos rules.

The anxiety has affected my concentration. I’m struggling to read, fiction, in particular. I can’t seem to relax sufficiently to allow myself to be lost in story. Instead, I constantly scroll through news and social media for real life stories that, frankly, only heighten my anxiety. My heart races and I wave my flaming stick at the monsters in the dark.

For the first couple of weeks, I was finding it hard to write as well. This has hifted, but the introspection – looking inwards at my fire – has changed what I’m writing.

Firstly, I’m back to random journal writing – random describes the timing and content. I’m taking my pen for a walk and writing, not to record what’s in my head, but to find out what’s in my head. I’m not writing every day, it’s not a scheduled thing, like Morning Pages. I carry around my notebook and pen and write when I feel I need to.

My handwriting is appalling, so I’m not expecting future historians to be turning to me for an account of life in a time of corona. Secondly, I’m finding writing my official work in progress like wading through waist-high treacle. And, worse, it’s sucking me down. This week I reached the point where, without Lassie arriving with help in the form of a horseman in possession of a handy rope to pull me out (I’m thinking Paul Newman in ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’, but I digress – I do that a lot just now), I was pretty sure I was going under. The book I’m supposed to be writing is a sequel to my ‘laugh-out-loud’ story about school gates politics and a mum who will do anything for her kids. The wit is dark (think Fay Weldon) but the emphasis is on humour – and I seem to have lost my sense of humour. (I blame the nightly press conferences from Number 10 and the newspaper headlines and the people dying and the people stockpiling loo roll in garden sheds and the fact that I haven’t had a glass of wine since this whole thing started in case it compromises my immune system and home schooling and Himself’s taste in music and having to wash down my shopping with Zoflora – yeah that’s still on the shelves because why would you want anti-viral cleaner when you can get antibacterial – but, yes, you’ve got it, I digress.) I’m struggling to raise a snark, let alone a full on laugh-out-loud. I’ve lost my comedy mojo.

So, finally (I may digress but I have not totally lost my way), I’m writing something different, differently. I have a story that has been sneaking around the back corridors of my head for a while. It’s about a woman who finds herself and home in the place from which she ran away. It’s about true self and re-learning to trust and believe; it’s introspective. And there are witches. I’m releasing my hold on real,out there life and letting my imagination take control.


Things I miss:
My friends and the accompanying chat, wine/tea (and occasional bad singing)
Tea in a cafe
The sea (trip to the coast in May cancelled)
Having the house to myself
Taking life/flour for granted.
Things I’m grateful for:
My menfolk (and cats) with whom I huddle in the light
The people out there working to keep us safe and take care of us
Social media to keep me connected
My garden and my writing shed
To still be here
The words.

If you can still accept distraction, my novel is called ‘The Busy Mum’s Guide To Getting Away With It’, it’s digitally published by Orion and you can find it on Amazon, currently at the bargain price of 99p. https://amzn.to/2Y4B7ZB

You can find me on Twitter as @LynnAFraser and on Instagram (expect cat pictures) as @lynnfraserwriter.

It’s been lovely getting to know you Lynn. Thank you so much for being my guest on this new series. Witch stories… that really got my attention, as did The Busy Mum’s Guide To Getting Away With It! What a title…

Wishing you happy writing days, health and happiness.

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